You must be thinking to yourself, “Hell yes, another list. This time for the best remixes.” Well, boys, and girls, that’s exactly what you’re about to get. I know, I know — Lists are overdone and none of them actually mean anything, other than to serve the writer’s ego and remind us why Taylor $wift is the greatest artist ever no matter what she does…cough Cats cough… I being the pontificating honcho of Remix Radar, I — of course — had to join in on all the fun and list the best remixes of 2020. I have to admit that while I am about to serve you the “best remixes”, this is in no way or shape objective nor does it cover the entirety of the music landscape and I will most certainly have missed a remix or two that are quite good. In my opinion, the best way to consume these “best of” lists is as a history or reminder of what occurred during the year and not to take them too seriously. Everyone has tastes and enjoyments no matter what anyone says. That being said, I’m going to ignore what I just said and rant away about these end of the year lists.
One, I do not understand the love affair for Taylor Swift on these “Best Of” rundowns. Yes, T Swift is a superstar and yes, she did something different with her quarantine albums, but can we take a second to analyze these albums? She is most certainly not the first artist to use indie styled records as a source for catchy hooks and melodies. It’s not unique, beyond the fact that Taylor Swift did it. Does this mean the albums can’t be good? No, the music isn’t what I’m calling into question, even if it isn’t my cup of tea. I take issue with how the albums are being presented as these uber-creative feats when many non-superstar acts have done similar things for over a decade. She was also not the first to do a quarantine album. Charli XCX and every bedroom artist beat her to that accomplishment. Can we chill on these accolades?
Second, Fiona Apple’s Fetch The Bolt Cutters has received insane reviews across the media. Many have called it the best of the year and I’ve even seen others say best of the past ten years or so. I’m not going to lie, I just don’t get it and I am 100% for weird, outlandish music. Her songwriting and wit are there, but it doesn’t connect with me and often loses velocity with how off-key she and everything can be. I also haven’t seen anyone acknowledge how strange the production work can get and — at times — how clunky and abbrassive it can feel. Is this really the best album out there? Am I dumb and just don’t get it?
Last, I haven’t seen much love for Kevin Parker’s fourth Tame Impala album. I do agree that it wasn’t his best work, but it was still better than many that have received grandiose acknowledgments in these reviews like Fetch The Bolt Cutters. Interestingly enough, when the album came out it was receiving quite the plaudits from the same outlets that now deny it’s “end of year best of” status. I do wonder if the shine for The Slow Rush has dissipated since it was released near the beginning of 2020 in February.
If you made it this far, thanks for reading my rants. I do want to once again reiterate that everyone has their own tastes and enjoyments. Don’t feel bad by these lists or me questioning them or others hating on things you like. Do what you enjoy, and like what you like. F*ck the haters.
Now, is the time for what we’ve all been waiting for, my obviously objective list of 2020’s best remixes. I did my best to narrow it down to 20 remixes as I felt that was a fitting number for 2020, but I couldn’t reach it. There were too many great remixes released this year. If I’m being honest, I could have done a top 100, but I have other obligations and did not have the time to accomplish it..maybe next year? I went back and forth on many including some on this list and many others not on this list. I hope you enjoy the 2020 finale of Remix Radar. Scroll down for all the fun.
Special Menton: Dua Lipa – Club Future Nostalgia (The Blessed Madonna Mixed)
To kick things off, I start with a special mention for Dua Lipa and The Blessed Madonna’s Club Future Nostalgia. The pair teamed up to create a special club and DJ mix version of Future Nostalgia. It features some great remixes from the likes of Hot Chip’s Joe Goddard, Jayda G, Paul Woolford, Yaeji, Mark Ronson, and many more stalwarts of the club scene and dance music. The Blessed Madonna then mixed these all together to create a banging album that takes listeners on the ultimate journey through shimmering club soundscapes. Kudos to Dua Lipa and her team for doing something a bit different than your standard remix album and highlighting the cross-over nature of Dua’s music.
25. Topic & A7S Ft. Lil Baby – Why Do You Lie To Me? (Weird Genius Remix)
The first two remixes on the list were released in the past 5 days meaning that I didn’t have time to properly rate them, but I did feel they had special qualities and deserved to make the cut. First comes from the Indonesian sensation, Weird Genius. The trio from Jakarta have made a significant storm of buzz in Asia with viral hit “Lathi”, as well as, a collaboration with Yellow Claw, another one with League of Legends for the launch of Wild Rift, and remixes for Rich Brian and this one of “Why Do You Lie To Me?”, the smash hit from Topic, A7S, and Lil Baby. I really enjoy the ravenous and hard-hitting Bass House sound they brought to this. I highly suggest keeping an eye on Weird Genius in 2021 as they are the first non-American Asian group signed to Astralwerks.
24. Myd Ft. Mac DeMarco – Moving Men (Gaspard Augé & Victor Le Masne Remix)
I love the original and I love the music video for it. I definitely need some more Myd and Mac DeMarco in my future. “Moving Men” receives a French House remix that’s heavy on the synths from Gaspard Augé of Justice and Victor Le Masne. The transformation brings about something that’s more rambunctious and punkier, kind of like it went through a Justice spin cycle and I’m all for that. I would also like to make note that the Bob Sinclar remix is great, too.
23. Dua Lipa Ft. DaBaby – Levitating (KUU Remix)
Dua Lipa lends herself to be a perfect remix muse. KUU — the trio of Alex Metrc, Riton, and Shungudzo — brings a sparkling, classic dance feel to “Levitating”. It’s a warm and fun song that you can’t help but feel the beat and bob your head to. If you’d like to read more about KUU, here is CULTR’s exclusive interview with them.
22. Diplo & SIDEPIECE – On My Mind (Purple Disco Machine Remix)
One of the early releases for Diplo’s Higher Grounds, he teamed up with SIDEPIECE and dropped “On My Mind”. It quickly turned into a smash hit for obvious reasons. It received this disco remix from Purple Disco Machine who brings his trademark thick funk to drape the original with a warm blanket and rich mesmerizing textures.
21. Metronomy – Whitsand (Myd Remix)
In 2019, we received Metronomy’s Metronomy Forever, which was one of my favorite albums of the year and highlighted a different side to the group. The group returned in 2020 with the drop of Myd’s remix of “Whitsand”. He reimagines the record into something outlandish and joyous with rich, technicolor sounds. After hearing this, we should have known Myd was about to have a great 2020.
20. Duke Dumont – Love Song (Will Clarke Remix)
I can’t believe we received Duke Dumont’s debut album this year and its subsequent remix album. 2020 has definitely felt much longer than other years. The Duality remix pack is one of the better ones from this year. My favorite of the bunch comes from Will Clarke who remixes “Love Song”. The British artist with the memorable beard brings a harder hitting, Techno beat and a bit of distortion to unlock darker tones, which blends wonderfully with the poignant vocals. It’s a great example of not overdoing it.
19. Caribou – Never Come Back (Floating Points Remix)
After a 6 year wait, we received Caribou’s Suddenly and one of my favorite albums of the year. It was some of Dan Snaith’s best writing and production work. The second single, “Never Come Back” received quite a few remixes including one from Four Tet and Morgan Geist, but my favorite comes from Floating Points. Mr. Shepard builds a glitchy world that oscillates back and forth between a vocal sample and keystrokes to set the mood. Then he slows it down and focuses on the original’s synth line to build a layer of conflict that soon breaks through to an energetic and swelling end. It’s a fantastic rework and one that takes listeners through a three-act sonic structure.
18. Ben Böhmer & Nils Hoffmann Ft. Malou – Breathing (CRi Remix)
Ben Böhmer’s 2019 album began with a bang. Collaborating with the rising artist, Nils Hoffmann, and featuring the vocals of another rising artist, Malou, the titular track and debut single was nothing short of mesmerizing, setting the stage for a great album. 2020 brought us the remix album for Breathing, which has a lot of great remixes including the stand-out from CRi. The Montreal-native reimagines “Breathing” by adding a new glimmering synth line and a lighter percussion and low-ends that blends seamlessly with the remaining original threads to radiate connective emotion. It was a great start to 2020 for CRi who would go on to release one of my favorite albums of the year with Juvenile. You can learn more about CRi and the album by reading our exclusive interview here.
17. Mathame – Never Give Up (ZHU Remix)
The readers who have followed Remix Radar over 2020 will know how much I love Mathame and their song, “Never Give Up”. If you want to feel the song in a live setting and how it reacts with the crowd, check out the end of their Cercle set found here. I think it’ll help you understand why I love it so much. After the success of the record, the brother-duo — with the help of Sony — released several star-studded remixes from Diplo, Lost Frequencies, and ZHU. The best of the bunch comes from ZHU. He transforms the song into something a bit punchier and clubbier then flips it on its head, sending it to the depths of Techno where it reverberates through the airwaves with distorted aggression.
16. Moon Boots Ft. Steve Klavier – Tied Up (Kenny Dope Remix)
Another album that feels like it came out ages ago is Moon Boots’ Bemini Road. The ultra groovy “Tied Up” was the lead single for good reason as it’s a delicious serving of hypnotic funk. This carries over to Kenny Dope’s remix of the record. The legendary House act keeps the original’s spirit, but ups the funk and adds an extra-thick bassline to unleash a classic and timeless feel that oozes coolness.
15. Joyhauser – Entropy (Rudosa Remix)
One of my favorite Techno records of the year is Rudosa’s remix of “Entropy”. The British act ups the tempo low-ends of the Joyhauser original to bring a high-octane attitude. The song squeals with squelching 909s and emits a devious delight that I absolutely love.
14. The Weeknd – Blinding Lights (Chromatics Remix)
The Weeknd and his After Hours have been a roaring success this year, breaking streaming records and being critically acclaimed. That somehow still didn’t score him any Grammy-nominations, which will go down as one the biggest musical travestys of the year. His “Blinding Lights” received a surprise remix from indie-darlings Chromatics who bring a French synth wavy type of sound to it. They keep the core intact but add distortion and a bit more spice that works wonderfully with The Weeknd’s vocals and the original elements they retained. One thing I really appreciate is the addition of vocal work from Ruth Radelet. Her harmonies with The Weeknd are incredible and her own verses add the right amount of pizzazz. I’d 100% love to see a collaboration from these artists in the near future.
13. Elderbrook – Numb (Joris Voorn Remix)
My favorite record off Elderbook”s 2020 album Why Do We Shake In The Cold?. It gets the remix treatment from renowned Dutch act, Joris Voorn. He cloaks “Numb” with soaring synths and barbs of pearly backing sounds that shape a composition of mind-numbing captivation (pun intended). This remix continued a long line of wins for Joris Voorn, which includes his album Four released at the end of 2019. We were also able to get an exclusive interview with which can be read here.
12. Nils Hoffmann Ft. Margret – Wherever You Are (Tinlicker Remix)
Nils Hoffmann might not be a name you’ve heard yet, but you will soon. He has already scored quite a bit of success as a rising act, which includes working with Ben Böhmer on “Breathing” and the remix of “Moments”, more on that in a second. He’s definitely one to keep your eyes on in 2021. For his debut album, he received quite a few great remixes including one from progressive masters, Tinlicker. The duo spins a blistering soundscape that takes listeners to another world where they float over ethereal-tinged wonders. You can feel connective emotion with each lick of sound and it hits you right in the soul.
11. Sylvan Esso – Ferris Wheel (Maya Jane Coles Remix)
Sylvan Esso released Free Love, their third album, in September. The lead single was “Ferris Wheel”, which contained the gooey indie, electro-pop vibes we all love and enjoy from the duo. In recent weeks, they’ve released this Maya Jane Coles remix that molds together each act’s sound to unlock a really excellent song. In typical Maya fashion, she focuses the track around a thick beat that sticks to your brain, hypnotizing you with its deliciousness. She fills the space around it with sways of glistening sounds to complete a brilliant sound design. Like I always say, Maya Jane Coles is easily one of the best electronic composers around.
10. Foals – Mountain At My Gates (SebastiAn Remix)
We have reached the top ten. The first comes from Foals’ insane collection of reworks, which I think is the best complete remix album of the year. French producer extraordinaire SebastiAn brings a groovy reimaging of “Mountain At My Gates”. He keeps the Yannis vocal relatively untouched, but creates a French House styled production built on layers of funky guitar riffs and basslines. The remix oozes coolness and it’s impossible not to feel like a star with this song blasting through the airwaves.
9. Joris Voorn – Antigone (Yotto Remix)
As I mentioned above, Joris Voorn released his fourth studio album at the end of 2019 and it is a beautiful trip across slow-bubbling soundscapes that I highly suggest listening too. The second single “Antigone” is simply incredible, but I feel I prefer this Yotto remix. The acclaimed Finnish act peels away some of sparkly prettiness and douses the original in a darker, fiery spirit with penetrative synths and a harder, roaring low-end. He follows relatively the same path as the original and slow-builds the energy and atmosphere. Then he flips the switch, swelling the sound, and BOOM! He hits you with the final drop and sends a cascade of energy and emotion upon listeners. I can only imagine that this would explode any dancefloor.
8. Tame Impala – Is It True (Four Tet Remix)
Two acts that have had a great 2020 combine on this remix. Tame Impala released his fourth album this year and received roaring reviews. I really enjoy the album, but I don’t think it was his best. Despite that, I still stand by what I said above and that Kevin Parker deserves more “end of” accolades. Four Tet also released an album this year and took us into his electronic madness. Sixteen Oceans is easily in my top albums of the year and also deserves recognition. In addition to the album, Four Tet also released an ep through his wingdings persona and remixes for Caribou and this one of “Is It True”. It’s quite a task to reimagine Tame Impala, but Four Tet succeeds in combining his sound with Kevin Parker’s to churn out something inventive and amazing. He strips away the original’s psych-pop and unleashes a discordant shimmer of sounds that builds a record with celestial cadences.
7. Kidnap Ft. Leo Stannard – Moments (Ben Böhmer & Nils Hoffmann Remix)
I’m a big fan of Kidnap and one of the reasons why is “Moments”. The song is incredible and hits you with pure emotion, sending you to the depths of nostalgia. Despite being released in 2016 and repackaged for Kidnap’s 2019 album Grow, we received its first official remix ever. Standout German acts, Ben Böhmer and Nils Hoffmann, collaborated to recreate the magic of “Moments” in 2020. The pair filter the original’s soul through a dubbed out prism and give the beat a bit more punch. They also add swells of piercing synths that help to build a different sound, yet their remix retains the emotional qualities that make the original so great. Leo Stannard’s vocals are still so striking and beautiful.
6. Lane 8 Ft. Arctic Lake – Road (Jerro Remix)
When I first began putting together this Best of 2020 edition of Remix Radar, I thought “welp, Lane 8 will have a remix on here for sure. Let me go look”. Surprisingly, It turns out he only released one remix this year. His remix for CloZee is great, but didn’t quite make the grade for the top 25. It probably would have if I did top 30. Either way, Lane 8 had an incredible 2020 with one of the best albums of the year and the subsequent Brightest Lights Remixed album that is in conversation as the best remix album of the year. My favorite of the group comes from Jerro who remixes “Road”. He transforms the soundscape into something dreamy and fluttery with a nice, breezy synth line. He leaves the Arctic Lake vocal untouched, which allows the pained emotion to continue through his version. Jerro definitely doesn’t overdo it, but still is able to have his sound shine with poignancy. To learn more about Jerro, read our exclusive interview here.
5. CamelPhat Ft. Yannis – Hypercolour (ARTBAT Remix)
The final five. This year brought us the debut album from CamelPhat. It included the incredibly great Hypercolour featuring Yannis of Foals. We got the even greater ARTBAT remix of it shortly afterward. The duo from Ukraine unlocks a ferocious attitude and energy with a slight tempo increase. They leave the Yannis of Foals vocal untouched, but surround it with some extra wubb-y percussion, some sizzling synths, and an assemble of orchestral-like electronic melodies to fill the space. ARTBAT creates the ultimate sonic experience and is one that tantalizes for its entire 8 and a half minutes.
4. Monolink – Sinner (Mathame Remix)
As stated above, I love Mathame. The brother-duo has a way of building these sonic-scapes that send listeners into a portal to a new world where penetrative sounds carry pure emotion and connective electricity directly to the brainstem. They create one of the best songs of the year by remixing Monolink’s “Sinner” into a driving melodic techno masterpiece. They let the song bubble and build with intoxicating anticipation. Then in a split second, they send a roar of sounds and let the song descend into a ravenous cavern of swirling fervor. It’s pure ecstasy.
3. Bob Moses & ZHU – Desire (Solomun Remix)
The final three of this year’s Remix Radar. Bob Moses and ZHU combined to bring us “Desire”, a massive collaboration and one that many electronic fans lost their nut over, with good reason. The dynamic maestro of underground sounds hops aboard the first remix of the record. Solomon unleashes a slithering sound upon the original that has his trademark fingerprints all over. He refocuses the track on a sample of ZHU’s vocal and lets the record thump for several minutes before it gets a minimalist breakdown that features a distorted version of the main, original vocal. Rounding that corner, we return to the meandering sound that has an air of mystery and daring about it. What Solomun is able to build is a record that emits a spellbinding atmosphere.
2. London Grammar – Baby It’s You (Kölsch Version)
I have said this in previous Remix Radars and will say it again. London Grammar and — in particular — Hannah Reid are the best muses for remixing. There is no better example of that than Kölsch’s remix of “Baby It’s You”. He is able to build such a poignant and beautiful record. It soars through the air, glistening with an aura unlike anything out there before. Each thread of sound strikes you with an emotional force, grabbing you through the digital realm and electrifying you. It’s a masterpiece and I could listen to it every day for the rest of my life. I prefer the extended version because it builds the emotion to an even intenser level and is a wondrous journey.
1. Remi Wolf – Hello Hello Hello (Polo & Pan Remix)
We did it, folks. We have arrived at this year’s definitive “Best Remix” and nobody can say otherwise. I kid, but this one is something special, and in my opinion, the best. Last year was a monumental year for Polo & Pan. They solidified their artistry as an unequaled force of enjoyment with a global tour that was easily one of the best shows I’ve ever seen and they gained insane amounts of fanfare and critical acclaim. Interestingly enough, the French duo hasn’t released much music since the 2018 release of the deluxe version of their masterpiece, Cavarelle. Fortunately for us, we did get the amazing “Feel Good” EP and mix, plus their remix of fast-rising pop starlet Remi Wolf’s “Hello Hello Hello”, which is Remix Radar’s number 1 remix of 2020. Polo & Pan bring their trademark whimsy and psychedelic dance music inventiveness to reimagine the record into something that breathes jovial vibes. With one lick of sound, this record will warm the coldest of souls and bring joy to all those that hear it. Their remix also scored a coveted Apple commercial spot, which should help to build the lend of Polo & Pan.